Saturday, May 10, 2008

What Makes a Mother

[This is an "Edited to include Stepmoms" version of an email that has made it's way into by inbox numerous times over the years. I decided it's time we were represented.]

This is for the mothers who have sat up all night with sick toddlers in their arms, wiping up barf laced with Oscar Mayer wieners and cherry Kool-Aid saying, "It's okay honey, I'm here."

Who have kissed boo-boos and made macaroni and cheese every night for dinner because it's their favorite.

For all the mothers who run carpools and make cookies and sew Halloween costumes. And all the mothers who DON'T.

This is for the mothers who gave birth to babies they'll never see. And the mothers who took those babies and gave them homes. And the "bonus" mothers to their husband's children.

This is for the mothers whose priceless art collections are hanging on their refrigerator doors. And for those who smile through the innocent announcements of "Look what I made for Mommy!" and "I am going to give this picture to Mommy this weekend!"

And for all the mothers who froze their buns on metal bleachers at football or soccer games instead of watching from the warmth of their cars. So that when their kids asked, "Did you see me?" they could say, "Of course, I wouldn't have missed it for the world," and mean it.

This is for all the mothers who yell at their kids in the grocery store and swat them in despair when they stomp their feet and scream for ice cream before dinner. And for all the mothers who count to ten instead, but realize how child abuse happens.

This is for all the mothers who have struggled through the issues of co-parenting with their husband's ex-wife. And who continue to love these children in spite of being told she has no right.

This is for all the mothers who sat down with their children and explained all about making babies. And for all the (grand)mothers who wanted to, but just couldn't find the words.

This is for all the mothers who take their children shopping to buy their (bio)Moms a birthday/Christmas/Mother's Day gift. And who say "It's ok." if they don't get something in return.

This is for those mothers who understand that divorce is painful. And who let their children go through the normal grieving process without taking it personally.

For all the mothers who read "Goodnight, Moon" twice a night for a year. And then read it again, "Just one more time."

This is for all the mothers who taught their children to tie their shoelaces before they started school. And for all the mothers who opted for Velcro instead.

This is for all the mothers who teach their sons to cook and their daughters to sink a jump shot.

This is for all the mothers who sent their kids to school with stomach aches, assuring them they'd be just FINE once they got there. And for those who dropped everything when the nurse calls an hour later because their (bio)Mom cannot be reached.

This is for mothers whose children have gone astray, who can't find the words to reach them. For all the mothers who bite their lips until they bleed when their teen informs you that they wish to live with their Mom instead of you and their Dad.

And for every Mom who has ever heard the phrase "But she's not my mother."

What makes a good mother anyway? Is it patience? Compassion? Biology?

Or is it in her heart?

Is it the ache she feels when she watches her son or daughter disappear down the street, walking to school alone for the very first time?

The pride she feels as she watches from the back row of their first ballet recital or school play?

The panic that comes at 2 A.M. when she just wants to hear their key in the door and know they are safely home after their first college road trip?

Or the need to flee from wherever she is and hug her child when she hears news of a fire, a car accident, a child dying?

The emotions of motherhood are universal and so our thoughts are for young mothers stumbling through diaper changes and sleep deprivation...

And for mature mothers learning to let go.

For working mothers and stay-at-home mothers.

Single mothers and married mothers.

Mothers with money, mothers without.

Stepmothers and "Bonus" mothers.

This is for you all. For all of us...

Hang in there. In the end we can only do the best we can. Tell them every day that we love them. And pray and NEVER stop being a mother...

"Home is what catches you when you fall - and we all fall."


amanda said...

thank you.

A New Beginning said...

Thanks, WSM.

I really needed to read that.

Lola said...

A thousand thanks for saying what my heart could only feel. Today was a tough day; my husband's out of the country and I'm home alone. I spoke with all 4 of my step children today ... only 2 of them said: "Happy Mother's Day". I can only hope and pray that some day, some way, these children all come to know how deep my love for them truly is.

Your lovely words are an encouragement to keep on loving.
Again, my thanks.

Anonymous said...

you made me cry AGAIN. Thanks

Christine said...

I'm a bonus mother, too. My step-daughter is now 21 and I've known her since she was six. The relationship we have...all I can say is that I hope my bio kids and I are close as we are.

Great post!

(Found you via twitter, btw.)

Lani said...

Love it. So true. So true.

ALF said...

Hope you had a great Mother's Day!

Heather (Igmom) said...

Thank you.